Fijian Rugby 7s Fever

  With less than a week to go before the start of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, people everywhere in our small Island nation are asking whether the 7s
30 Jul 2016 10:16
Fijian Rugby 7s Fever
Jerry Tuwai.


With less than a week to go before the start of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, people everywhere in our small Island nation are asking whether the 7s rugby national side can strike Gold for Fiji in the games.

My answer to that is first and foremost we have the best Rugby 7s coach in the world training our boys, with the passion and dedication he has shown leading from the front we certainly have the edge in this department.

My only fear is never to rule out Sir Gordon Tietjens, who has been fairly quiet by his standards, but rest assured he will bring a fully committed and focused squad with him to Rio in search of that Gold medal for New Zealand.

Next up is fitness, once again I can tell you first hand that training has been brutal, I caught up with the whole team one evening for dinner after their daily training and the conversation was basically eat and looking forward to bed. They were so tired. There was no time for playing around or hanging out it was strictly eat, relax then bed.

So in terms of fitness they should be peaking just at the right time as the tournament draws nearer. The training at the Sigatoka Sand Dunes was well received and helped increase their recovery times during the games.

Now we move onto tactics and set plays, after watching them for a few days it was noticeable how well the team had gelled and also how effortlessly the team could execute set plays and have a very good understanding of each other. With this bonding and almost telepathic reading of one another’s movements on the field  it bodes well for their campaign ahead.

The final crucial ingredient needed for any world class team is mental strength, being able to suck it up if you are 14 points down, having the maturity to keep a cool head when the game is getting away from you and also being able to handle the occasion of being at the biggest sporting stage in the world.

In this department I am not able to give you the answer, but I have full faith that they will certainly give it their all during this competition.

When it comes to mental strength New Zealand have been the masters of this and recently I have seen a maturity in the South African and Australian outfits.

The final question many people ask is who are the stand out players in the Fiji side, well I would have to say the whole team are exceptionally talented. in fact I did not envy Ben Ryan’s task to cut exceptional players from the team to make his final squad.

If push came to shove, I would say there are two players who could play a huge role in this competition if they are at 100 per cent fit and focused.

Firstly, Jerry Tuwai as a man who could help Fiji reach the pinnacle of the sport, he is small in stature but has an incredibly big heart and not scared to get involved if he has to.

Jerry has speed to burn, nimble passing skills and good lateral vision, which all help in his crucial decision making as he opts to put his team on the front foot looking for tries.

The second player who has been exceptional this season is Semi Kunatani, he is a huge physical player standing at more than 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing over 100 kgs, his imposing frame belies his skill as an adept defending and attacking forward.

He has great vision for the game and is able to galvanise a team together and lead from the front.

Apart from these two formidable players on the field each and every other players in the squad has an exceptional ability to perform and I am sure will do Fiji proud.

Once again we wish the team all the best in Rio and of course the whole nation will be cheering for them.

Edited by Paula Tuvuki

The writer is a Fiji Sun Columnist



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